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I recently received a message asking about strength and conditioning for law enforcement, specifically a SWAT breacher. Below is my reply on my thoughts on it.

Hey (insert silly false name here to protect identity), first off thanks for protecting your local citizens every day. It’s a job not many respect until they need you.


Here’s my philosophy on Law enforcement training in general. For a patrol officer, the most common thing they will be doing is slinging people not objects. You already do MMA, just make sure you include grappling of your choice that meshes with your dept policies and programs. So that could be considered your strength work. Now for operator duties you’ll need a little bit extra juice for breaching, carrying around extra weight, assaulting objectives, mental clarity for long periods during a stand off, etc. For that you can work in any quality strength program. Joe DeFranco, Jim Smith/Diesel Crew, Dan John, Alwyn Cosgrove, Charles Staley are all excellent choices.

Again for patrol officers, the grappling will be sufficient conditioning and very specific. To expand for you team role add in a crossfit metcon or some kettlebell snatch work twice a week. Also some sledgehammer work laterally against a target about the same height as your average door breach along with some med ball twisting throws should work some nice specificity into your hoolie work, when dynamic breach isn’t acceptable.

So putting it all together, couple different ways. cycles of four days of ramping intensity, I’ve found to work better than any other protocol I’ve used. It will force you to recover so you can actually go all out on your high intensity days. Each cycle of four days consists of a day each of no intensity, low intensity, moderate intensity and high intensity.

On the no intensity days, do a ton of joint mobility work, you can also think of this as the ‘off’ day. But it’s not off, it’s active recovery.

You’ll follow this up with a low intensity day. On this day practice your tactical skills, dry fire or live fire if possible, and also use this day to work on your flexibility. PNF, dynamic flexibility, foam rolling or yoga type stretches are all good here. Think of this as your active recovery day, feel free to break a light sweat, but nothing above 60%. Concentrate on opening up your upper back, pecs, shoulders and hip flexors as those are the most tightened by body armor and sitting in a patrol car.

Next on your moderate day is either your strength or conditioning work. Whichever you feel is currently the better of the two, you’ll place here and they can be flip flopped every few weeks if needed. Usually most place their strength here, preferably full body work. Deadlifts, squats, weighted pullups, gymnastic skills or any other difficult strength/strongman work you like here. If you do any sparring or want to take your body for a test drive in some form of competition, approximately 4-6 hours after your moderate workout is the opportunity.

Last is your high intensity day and most will place their conditioning here. If you decide on one of the programs from the guys I listed you may have to put your strength here because many of them are just too intense to have anything follow them. But for conditioning a high intensity metcon of at least 20 min can go here. About once a month or so ensure to get a longer metcon or a weighted hike for some mental challenge. And of course you can put any kettlebell conditioning work here as well. I like the snatch VO2 protocol.

If you prefer 5 day/week cycles, not to fear. Just do your moderate on Mon and Thurs. High on Tue and Fri. Mobility and active recovery/flexibility improvement on Wed.

Just kind of my philosophies on things. Let me know if you need anything else at all or have any questions.

Nathan

Something I forgot to mention is make sure your training does not interfere with your job performance. Some sore muscles may not slow you down too much on the exterior, but it’s not worth risking not knowing how it’s actually affecting you on the inside.

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About

Nathan Cragg is currently a FIST (Fire Support Team) Staff Sergeant section chief and Modern Army Combatives Program Level II instructor for the Colorado National Guard. Having served active duty time as well as two tours to Iraq, he knows the hardships encountered. Being involved with law enforcement and fire service since early high school; his drive is to help prepare fellow firefighters, police officers and soldiers to be their physical best. Nathan has attained Field Coach certification for TACFIT by surviving the gauntlet of six protocols wave back to back. Also has been involved with Russian kettlebells, olympic weightlifting and a Precision Nutrition Practitioner. Some talk about being experts of training these professions, but very few have actual done it and truly know what it takes. http://www.redwhiteandbluefitness.com

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